The Pelicans were obliterated by the Suns in Phoenix on Tuesday evening, dropping their record to 2-2 and making fans wonder across New Orleans where the help is going to come from after another collective poor showing from the reserve unit in the second quarter practically destroyed all hope for a potential victory.
In the first quarter, the Pelicans more than held their own — they started the game on fire from the field (8-9 FGs) — despite the Suns hot 7-11 shooting from distance, losing the frame by only two points after pounding the paint for numerous scores. Things, however, dramatically worsened in the second quarter — a 35-15 drubbing by Phoenix — as New Orleans simply failed to put the ball through the hoop with any consistency. By the time the dust had settled, the Suns were seen happily bounding to the locker room with a 66-44 lead at halftime.
Don’t get me wrong, the Suns are a good team, probably a playoff team like many predicted in preseason, but the Pelicans were exposed in the first half and then they failed to bring the requisite effort in the second half until Van Gundy waved the white flag and gave seldom-seen reserves plenty of run.
Not halfway through the third quarter, the Pelicans were losing 81-47. They had only one made three-pointer to their credit. Players were standing around offensively — a big no-no for a motion offense — and the Suns were getting any shot they sought on the other end of the floor.
“It’s target practice right now.” — Antonio Daniels late in the third quarter after another three-pointer widened the Suns lead to 98-61.
Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 20 points and Brandon Ingram added 13 points, six rebounds and six assists in 28 minutes. Steven Adams had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Believe it or not, Jae Crowder was the pace-setter for the Suns, scoring 21 points. He took full advantage of Williamson’s poor attempts of contesting shots, burying five three-pointers on the night.
Perhaps the two biggest positives to draw from the game were that Nickeil Alexander-Walker received extended run (11 points, four assists) and Kira Lewis Jr. (four points) saw his first NBA minutes. The Pelicans rookie flashed his skillset at times, making correct passes and looking to score when the opportunity presented itself.
This game is one that the coaching staff should probably consider burning all the videotape evidence. It was that ugly and sad at times, but hey, don’t forget that the Clippers lost by 51 points on Sunday and the Heat fell by 47 points to the Bucks tonight.
Let’s just hope we don’t see a repeat performance like this from the Pelicans for quite awhile.